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Singapore’s Temasek writes down $275M investment in FTX

FTX’s investors are continuing to deal with the fallout from the cryptocurrency exchange’s bankruptcy. In a statement today, Temasek, the investment firm owned by Singapore’s government, said it wrote down its full investment in FTX, “irrespective of the outcome of FTX’s bankruptcy protection filing.”

Temasek invested $210 million USD in FTX international, giving it a minority stake of about 1%. It also invested $65 million for a minority stake of about 1.5% in FTX US, in two funding rounds from October 2021 to January 2022. The firm said the total cost of its investment was 0.09% of its net portfolio value of $403 billion SGD (about $293 billion USD).

Temasek made a point of noting that its investment in FTX was not an investment in cryptocurrencies. “To clarify, we currently have no direct exposure in cryptocurrencies,” it said.

Instead, the reason it invested in FTX was because it wanted to back a “leading digital asset exchange providing us with protocol agnostic and market neutral exposure to crypto markets with a fee income model and no trading or balance risk sheet.”

It also said that its due diligence process for FTX took about eight months, from February to October 2021, and involved a review of FTX’s audited financial statement, which it said showed the exchange to be profitable.

But with FTX’s collapse, Temasek now says “it is apparent from this investment that perhaps our belief in the actions, judgement and leadership of Sam Bankman-Fried, formed from our interactions with him and views expressed in our discussions with others, would appear to have been misplaced.”

Temasek’s announcement comes a few days after SoftBank said it was writing down its $100 million investment in FTX, which was once valued at $32 billion. Sequoia also said it was writing down its other investments.

FTX’s other investors include BlackRock, Tiger Global, Insight Partners and Paradigm.